Shodoshima: A Spontaneous Seto Inland Sea Journey

I woke up around 3 a.m. last Saturday and couldn’t go back to sleep. I suddenly got itchy feet and wondered where I could go. I opened Google Maps and ran my finger over it to see which direction felt good. I have my own quirks when it comes to traveling, and being spontaneous is only one of them. It may sound strange to you, but some geographical directions make me feel good or bad, depending on my mood. 

On my way to Okayama

I felt like going west that day, preferably to an island. Shodoshima popped into my head, and I let my feelings run the show after that. No sooner had I thought about going to Shodoshima did I find myself getting ready for the trip. “Rarely do my feelings disappoint me anyway,” I muttered on the ferry from Okayama to Shodoshima. 

Angel Road

I was lethargic once the ferry arrived at Obe Port due to a lack of caffeine and sleep. I will be honest; I thought about giving up on the trip and returning home with the next ferry after realizing Shodoshima was way too big to discover without a car. Because I don’t drive or cycle, I had to depend on public buses that were reliable but infrequent. 

But I didn’t turn back. As the famous Turkish poet Orhan Veli once said, “This lovely weather has brought on my ruin.” The arresting beauty of the island and the lovely blue sky made me stay there all day. As one would expect from the weather, it did not stay the same. While riding the bus, the sky began to turn gray, giving me quite a scare. 

Luckily it didn’t rain, and I reached Angel Road at the same time this mysterious sandy road appeared. I did not walk on it myself, but I went up a hill to watch the couples, the strong ones piggybacking their partners while crossing it. According to the legend, if you cross this road holding your special someone’s hand, your wish will be granted by an angel. No wonder it’s so popular with couples! 

I was content with watching the people passing Angel Road and the mountains surrounding the island. I took in the maple trees that turned red with the arrival of the last week of November and felt the last warm days of the year in my bones. I was too immersed in the scenery to notice, but when I shifted my gaze, the tides were rising, and the road was gone! 

Shodoshima Olive Park and Olive Beach

I walked to Meiro no Machi (迷路のまち) from Angel Road and spent an hour wandering through its streets. I felt a pang of sadness in my heart when I realized it was empty, even on a busy weekend. I wish such a lovely neighborhood had more visitors, but not every wish comes true. The strait, which the authorities claim to be the narrowest in the world, didn’t attract any interest, either. 

Meiro no Machi

The Guinness Book of World Records recorded Dofuchi Strait as the narrowest strait in the world.

After that pleasant encounter, I headed to my final destination, Shodoshima Olive Park. This place confirmed that I had to trust my instincts more often and never give up before starting! Shodoshima Olive Park is on a hill that faces the Seto Inland Sea and the other coasts of the island. Since my mother’s side is from the Mediterranean, I love olive oil and olives, and I have a weakness for olive trees. Visiting this park brought back many childhood memories.


Are there any places that you are grateful to have visited, even if it made you nervous at first?

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